Ministry: Relapse

This is the 12th studio album from Industrial Metal band Ministry and the first release since the band released their “final”album in 2007 and announced their reunion in late 2011. And even though it hasn’t been a while since the band split up, it’s felt like quite a while and this new album has been highly anticipated. It’s nice to see them reunite because Al Jourgensen, to me, has always been kinda like the last “character” in heavy music that hasn’t really changed or adapted to fit the molds of society.

The album opens up with “Ghouldiggers,” which is a big “Fuck You” to the music industry and symbolizes that the band are back on top and stronger than ever. After a two minute monologue of lead singer Al Jourgensen, the band rips in with a ferocious Industrial barrage of sound and doesn’t let up while Al repeatedly slates the industry. Like most of Jourgensen’s lyrics, there’s some political references. It’s not as obvious as it was on the bands last three albums (Houses of the Mole, Rio Grande Blood and The Last Sucker), but it’s still prevalent as well as some hits against Wall Street, record labels, and drug abuse (of course). Compared to the last three albums, which were all heavily fueled by Al’s hatred towards the Bush administration, I can’t help but feel like Al almost ran out of things to sing about.

The rest of the album continues with what is the bands fastest and heaviest album to date. It has also been rumored that Al was pretty much stoned the entire time while making this record, also making this the bands “Stoner” record (hence the very appropriate album title).

Overall, it’s difficult to say how I really feel about this album. My entry point for this band was The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, which is a brilliant album and i feel like it’s really hard to top that album in my mind. I didn’t hate the last few records (otherwise known as the Bush Trilogy). However, I’ve heard a lot of negative reviews about this record, which I guess why I haven’t  heard a lot of hype about this particular reunion. After my listen, I’ll admit I wasn’t totally wowed by it. I thought it was pretty good even though it wasn’t the most memorable collection of songs that this band wrote. I would say that it’s not as good as the last three albums even though it sounds very similar. I guess I’ll have to listen to it a couple more times before I really determine how I feel about it.

Luke Helker

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